NewsMax: Enemies of God? (BR)
Cunning leads to knavery. - Ovid
I saw V for Vendetta a couple of nights ago and while I'm sort of loath to entertain Orwellian and Hitlerian -- lord do I wish I had a last name which lent itself to adjectivization -- analogies to W. Bush's Amuhhhhricah, it did get me to thinking about issues of social programming, manufactured consent and whatnot.
The problem with the fantasy tyrannies depicted in Vendetta, 1984 and other dystopic visions, and why they don't really apply, is they all feature a stern, paternalistic, brilliantly spoken leader who keeps the mass in lyrical thrall with passion and diction.
What type of man has been running the American show lately? Lovable, non-threatening knuckleheads. President Clinton, as charming as he was, was capable of enormous, embarrassing gaffes, and ditto for Ronald Reagan, who may have delivered some great speeches, but was not a great speaker. Bush's father was an effeminate nerd and Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer.
We, after all, invented and probably perfected anti-intellectualism. It's been one of the more notable symptoms of our culture since we landed on this rock. But I'm still occasionally chilled to my bones by the breadth and degree of my peoples' revulsion at knowledge or reason in general. Take NewsMax.
For the uninitiated, NewsMax is a political and world news website which wears its neoconservativism rather unabashedly on its sleeve. During my brief foray as a registered Libertarian I was added to their mailing list somehow, and still receive their bulletins in an e-mail account I rarely use.
A rapid glance through the headline stack evinces this (Top story: 'Bush, Cheney go on offensive' ... look out!) but thousands of times more interesting than the "news" is the site's choice for sidebar ads.
By the sixth paragraph through a story about a right-wing group attempting to introduce an article of censure for President Carter (?), my eye is drawn by a green box with yellow text reading "Christian Fighting System Revealed." OK, I'm excited. I click. I'm taken to a site called fightfast.com. Large red text headline:
"1000-Year-Old Christian Fighting System Finally Revealed!" My, that is a long time to wait for a martial art. Tell me more:
This Ancient Russian Military System Is The Key To
Dominating Without Fear... Without Anger... And (Most Important),
With a Simple "Moral Psychology" That'll Make YOU Unbeatable!
... Ever hear of Vladimir Vasiliev? Most of my "hotlist" has. He's the guy who defected from the Soviets to become the top Russian "SPETSNAZ" martial arts trainer in the Western world — the guy who "broke silence" on the now-famous (but previously TOP SECRET) Russian martial arts system used ONLY by the super-elite SPETSNAZ fighting forces.
Here's what I'm talking about: An audience clearly exists, which will be hooked by the concept of a "Christian" ideal of administering a beatdown. This audience is evidently located predominantly within the self-professed moral values crowd. Was Jesus the type of guy who fought to win?