Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A Means to be Truly Arrogant When Listening to Politicians

BlogDoc 12 19 December 2007
“Oh, Hemmingway!” Listening to Oatmeal

For all the failings and foibles of the media folks interviewing our candidates, we must acknowledge the difficulties they face before we are too harsh in judgment. Here, although it is always a temptation to repeatedly reconsider the rather sinister side of the industrial media, we will focus for a moment on the words and language of the candidates.

Simply expressed concepts, by their own nature, limit media coverage possibilities. The option of a simple statement which might elicit questions about details originating from a more or less normal curiosity has been colored as unmanageable. Even questions from previous, simple statements are considered threatening.

Does the complexity of the explanations of intentions of our contemporary political candidates betray a similar complexity in the intentions themselves? Is there no straightforward opportunity remaining? That is, can they find a straightforward explanation or a straightforward intention?

Is this complexity necessary? Is this complaint about sixty word sentences with three or four conditional branches too sensitive? After all, the media or, at least, the competition will sort through these monsters word by word, extracting tidbits without context. These phrases, well enhanced by biased innuendo, will form unuttered positions filled with partisan vulnerabilities. It seems the obvious goal is to finally present arguments which challenge each other but have no legitimatizing ownership from either position, arguments which proceed by some suspect inertia, arguments which seem to have something to do with, perhaps, the candidates or, at least, the positions.

This political discourse comes to rest, almost immediately, as partisan claims become no more than hungry dogs roaming a cemetery at night. After that, the illusion of an election executed by the illusion of an educated electorate is made into power. All these missed points will convert to solidly present frustrations, crazy cowboys riding imaginary steeds which graze on nothing but ambiguities. Finally, after being savaged by opinion polls, the congress and inevitably contradicting, mitigating, out-of-control events, the citizens will find no comfort other than that arising from their well cultivated short memories.

If you are likely to encounter a candidate speaking, spend a moment first with the exhilarating active tenses of Hemmingway. Inoculate yourself with some forgotten speech by John Kennedy. Or even Dwight Eisenhower. Compare this history to what you will hear from these modern competitors for your favor.

Do we suspect that the political world was less contentious back in “those good old days?” Hardly. Now, for the most unreasonable element of this short paper. Codependents hate conflicts. Has the entire political system upon which we rely with so much loyalty descended into a codependent swamp? Do all these vindicating conditional sentences exist for no greater purpose than to protect the speakers from any possibility of direct conflict, either now or later? Are we all to be indicted for codependency, that is, both speakers and satisfied listeners? The entire nation?

To escape this gloomy possibility, we can mention the “argument and yelling talk shows” populated by ever more aggressive, retired near-somebodies from the media or the government. These become all the more popular as they become ever more rude, conflicted and strident. Each aging, marginally relevant participant throws forth more and more squeaks of imagined authority projected for the camera with dramatic interruptions and urgently raised voices.

The fans of these gladiatorial yelling matches will never admit the deepest nature of their attraction to such unlikely forms of illumination, but even a passing speculation may be of some interest. Struggling under the heavy burden of “humiliation avoidance” these fans are determined to never be “made into fools” again. Perhaps they have foolishly believed statements, promises and other news they have encountered before. Perhaps they believe that statements made in the duress of these yelling matches are, somehow, more reliably sincere.

Aside from the obvious enjoyment of the role as judge, not of fact, of course, but at least, of presentation, by these competing participants, these fans suspect that some truth might emerge while the “lying and manipulating” equipment is over-occupied with the immediate need to dominate the verbal arguments. This hope is nothing other than “grasping the thread” that each of these speakers is too busy dominating the others to be cunning with “respect to me.”

At least, these pathetic yelling matches are largely conducted in Hemmingway’s active tense, that is, in refreshing sentences devoid of the numbing elixir of so much conditional grammar. Perhaps, the press of such contests has rehabilitated these pundits’ sadly constant cries for imaginary, elusive, faint meaning.

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