Free Chat Friday, Week 2

Happy Friday News Viewers, we’ve trudged through the second week of the first month of 2022. We haven’t run, skipped, hopped, marched or cavorted, NO Siree. We have trudged, but we’re moving toward the slower and more labored SLOG, because the juice is running out of the delusional nightmare that is the Republican Party.

Time for a quick re-read of a few excerpts from the short essay from the dim distant past, 1995, by Bruce Handy in Time Magazine. After reading this again recently, I was struck with how long we’ve had to put up with these nuts, except we’re doing it in ever increasing degrees of crazy, of loud, of self-absorbed, of greedy, of short-sighted, of unoriginal, of lawless entitlement. . . . . Sick of it, just sick of it.

Excerpted from: Conspiracy of Dunces by Bruce Handy, May 22, 1995

In the late 1970s, David Byrne wrote a faux be-happy song titled Don’t Worry ‘Bout the Government. Today few would appreciate the irony, since worrying about the government has become a kind of grim national obsession-it’s what Americans seem to do best, or at least loudest.

At its extreme, this anxiety is expressed in the now famous conspiracy theories held dear by some right-wing militia members-namely, that the U.S. government has a secret plan calling for United Nations troops to take over America. Coded markers are being placed on the backs of road signs so that the Blue Helmets will know which way to turn to get to the concentration camps in which they will be holding normal Americans, whose buttocks will be implanted with mind-controlling computer chips, turning us all into zombie-slaves of the new world order. For what reason–sheer, thrilling gall?–remains to be seen.

Now there are a lot of reasons why this scenario is patently ridiculous, not least among them the fact that no one in his right mind would turn to the U.N. to pacify a vast and unruly nation like the U.S., not when Bosnian Serbs defy U.N. troops as if they were to be taken no more seriously than a force of substitute teachers.

However, an even larger problem with this conspiracy theory is that the Federal Government doesn’t work nearly well enough to execute it, not on the scale and with the level of secrecy and precision the militias envision. After all, government is run by the same people who once paid $640 for toilet-seat covers, who went ahead with the initial raid on the Branch Davidians even though they knew David Koresh had been forewarned, who couldn’t figure out that Aldrich Ames was selling secrets to the Soviet Union even when the $70,000-a-year cia officer moved into a half-million-dollar mansion and began driving to work in a spiffy new Jaguar.

While government might seem faceless and all-powerful to outsiders, insiders know it’s an organization made up of human beings, with all the incompetency that implies. Think of your own workplace-and then multiply the ineptitude by millions.

Unfortunately, many conspiracy theorists don’t have workplaces with which to appreciate this analogy. And anyway, giving far too much credit to one’s enemies is a hallmark of the paranoid mind-set. This would explain the theory, in vogue among certain Bill Clinton haters, that a cabal of White House aides murdered Vincent Foster, the President’s deputy counsel, and not only managed to make the killing look like a suicide but also persuaded numerous fbi agents and members of the U.S. Park Police to join in on the cover-up-all in all, a nifty feat for a White House that has yet to demonstrate it knows how to vet a nominee or hew to a position.

The O.J. Simpson trial deals in the same kind of cognitive dissonance. Defense lawyers are suggesting that the l.a.p.d. has executed an ingenious frame-up of Simpson even as they lay bare the workaday ineptitude of the same alleged conspirators. These views would seem self-evidently irreconcilable, and yet the public is said to be so willing to believe in a police conspiracy that virtually every legal expert expects Simpson to walk.

This need to find satisfying villains also explains the endurance of Kennedy-assassination theories. To concede that Lee Oswald could by himself murder a President is to realize that history is significantly random; perversely, it’s more reassuring to believe that a confederation of fbi and cia agents, mafiosi, Cubans and Kennedy’s autopsy doctors hatched a plot remarkable both for its reach and for the fact that in more than three decades not a single participant has sung. Who were these adroit conspirators? The same men who two years earlier launched the quixotic, inept Bay of Pigs operation, and some of whom, it has been alleged, went on to bollix up the Watergate break-in.

That’s the face of a real government conspiracy: the Watergate burglars getting caught because James McCord boneheadedly taped open locks at the Democratic National Committee offices. E. Howard Hunt and Charles Colson, Iran- contra’s Oliver North and Fawn Hall-these are not exactly criminal masterminds.

This isn’t to say we shouldn’t worry about the government. Our leaders conspire to do bad things behind our backs: they bug us, they experiment on us, they subsidize foreigners who sell us drugs-the list goes on. Fortunately, these clumsy transgressions-unlike the Mission: Impossible fantasies of militia members and Oliver Stone-are eminently verifiable, our knowledge of them not dependent on tweezing out coincidences from selective readings of the evidence. We should also remember that government tends to commit its worst crimes in public. The process is called politics, and it’s no big secret.


The View from the Right

This is our NV open forum for Friday; let’s talk about what’s going on in your worlds, the micro and the macro, it’s open season topic wise as long as we adhere to Miss Manners Rules of Civility and Etiquette 2.0.

Today, I’ve included a small “View from the Right” feature, just for shits and giggles (as they say ;-)) Always good to look at all perspectives, even from those who have lost ALL perspective. Sigh.

Chat one and all, what’s going on with you? And I’m tired,. . . . . .is it just me?