Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The tragedy of a ridiculous people

Time Zuckerberg cover

Apparently Time had a poll for their 'person of the year' award in which Julian Assange was overwhelmingly the first choice, but they chose Mark Zuckerberg because presumably that choice will ruffle fewer feathers and won't get any reactionary readers or advertisers angry. In another age Hitler was once Time's man of the year, when Time gave its readers more credit for not being simpletons who require happy news. I'm reminded of the selection of "you" as their person of the year a few years ago, when there was speculation that it might have been Hugo Chavez.

Somewhat coincidentally I watched the NBC Nightly News tonight and while they discussed John Kyl and other senators objecting to having to work so close to Christmastime they made no mention of the Reuters article [also here] about the possible downgrade of the US's bond status because of the meretricious tax deal. They also mentioned an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that said that 59% of Americans approve of the tax deal, including 54 % of Democrats. Maybe this is true, and maybe it reflects actual enthusiasm for the tax deal, or maybe the belief that nothing better is possible.

I want to love my country and believe in our future but it's awfully discouraging sometimes. I would like, for example, to believe that we're not as stupid as the media tells us we are. I know other people must feel this way. The one somewhat encouraging bit of news I got recently was from a Zogby poll about Wikileaks and cablegate. Respondents were asked if news organizations were wrong to publish Wikileaks info, and if Wikileaks should be classified as a terrorist organization. Overall 63% said that the news organizations were wrong to publish the info, and 52% said that Wikileaks should be classified as a terrorist organization.

Among voters age 65 and older, 73% agree news organizations should not publish WikiLeaks and 65% agree the government should consider WikiLeaks a terrorist organization. But among the respondents under age 30, the percentages agreeing with those statements are just 35% and 30% respectively.

2010 Zogby wikipoll

Ian Welsh, "The Kabuki Congress and Presidency"

By David Weigel, Slate "Crisis Junkies: After the tax deal vote, get ready for another fiscal apocalypse"

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At December 15, 2010 6:34 PM, Blogger Jack Crow said...

Perhaps it's wiser to give up on the very idea of one's own nation, or country.

At December 16, 2010 2:49 AM, Blogger Mimi said...

I still want to know if those who shot and killed non-combatants, then laughed about it, were ever disciplined. Does anybody knon?

At December 16, 2010 7:41 AM, Blogger Bob In Pacifica said...

Interesting reports I hadn't heard elsewhere, starting here:

regarding Assange's weird cult background.

Human nature tends to push people into an either/or good/evil dichotomy. Teabaggers believe Obama is evil so that their Republican leaders are good (or vice versa). But such a narrow vision doesn't allow for more complex views such as Obama is more like Republicans, and therefore the teabag view of politics is a false dichotomy.

My point here is this question: Is Assange working for another intelligence agency, someone like Germany who benefits by the U.S.'s hegemonic shrinkage? There is certainly more to this guy than we get through the news.

Which is not to say that the Wikileaks are a bad thing. I have to say that nothing released has surprised me. The level of corruption, criminality and contempt for human rights displayed by our foreign policy hasn't changed at all since our we displaced the Nazis and Japanese as the world's greatest imperial power.

Anyway, I haven't looked to Time or Newsweek for actual real news since the 1960s.

At December 16, 2010 3:41 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Jack, I want to believe in my country, at least in terms of what it's supposed to stand for, but without believing in American Exceptionalism.

Mimi, I don't know, although I imagine they haven't been.

Bob, Thanks for the link, but as you know Assange doesn't have to be working for anybody but his own group for various others to decide they'll spin the revelations as they see fit. For example, I've heard arguments derived from the docs both for and against military intervention in Afghanistan. That's what I meant before by saying he is a sort of Gestalt public figure.


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