Saturday, May 27, 2006
Look out! Fake outrage alert. (Part 2.)
And assuming you've read Part 1, we can finish our business here. As we've already established, not only was George Galloway's comment not particularly outrageous but, in the context of an actual "war," it was perfectly reasonable. If you were technically at war and had the opportunity, with the sacrifice of a single low-level soldier, to assassinate the political leader of one of your enemies without killing a single non-combatant in the process, you would be, quite simply, a moron not to take advantage of that.
"Morally justified?" Well, duh. One could say that, in a military context, you almost have a military obligation to do that, given the clear value. But having settled all of that, what does this have to do with "fake outrage?"
Quite simply, fake or faux outrage is one of the Right's favourite little propaganda tools. If you want to discredit an ideological opponent but can't find anything legitimately drastic or horrifying to tar them with, well, the next best thing is to find something not quite as horrific and then dress it up to look really, really scary, and hope everyone buys into it.
Without a doubt, the best example of this over the last several years was the impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton. His crime? Getting a blowjob, then lying about it under oath. Now, if it had been presented merely like that, there's little doubt that most people would have just thought something like, "Geez, what an asshole," then got on with their lives. Blowjob? Lying about it? Well, OK, that's classless but, in the grand scheme of things, I'm pretty sure there are bigger issues. But that's not how it was played by the Right.
If you listened to the population of American wingnuts at the time, you'd swear that Clinton's hummer and trying to cover it up afterwards was the end of the Republic! I mean, holy fucking shit, how will western civilization survive? My God, what will we tell the poor, poor children? Holy crap, civility and democracy itself are hanging in the balance and, son of a bitch, this man must be driven from office in deep disgrace and humiliation to salvage what little is left of the morality of America! And incessant bullshit like that, you get the idea. On and on and tediously goddamned on, with every worthless, neo-con wank trying to outdo the one before with how emotionally traumatic this whole thing was to their delicate psyche.
The proceedings themselves were the best part, with each hypocritical, Republican hack, one at a time, taking centre stage, barely being able to choke back the tears of national shame, and intoning solemnly about how this blight on their country's honour must be rectified, with the funniest part being how each and every one of them felt the need to refer to the President by his full name -- "William Jefferson Clinton" -- just to make sure that you didn't confuse him with some other currently-sitting president named "Bill Clinton."
Oh, yes, by the time those proceedings were over, I have to imagine that there wasn't a single person in America that didn't know Bill Clinton's middle name. Hell, I'm guessing there were natives deep in the jungles of Borneo who ended up knowing Clinton's middle name. But it was all part of the script: "All right; slow, solemn walk to podium; eyes downcast to reflect national shame; barely-controlled tearful emotion and, lots of references to president's full name. Got it? Good. Knock 'em dead. Afterwards, we'll go out for beer and hookers."
And you can see the modern incarnation of this bullshit, as numerous members of the Blogging Tories blather on idiotically about how they're just appalled, disgusted, horrified with George Galloway, all of it accompanied by their best expressions of sputtering outrage that they've been practising in front of the mirror for the last several hours. And make no mistake -- these wanks are not in any meaningful way horrified by Galloway or his opinions. But they've all received the memo, and they're all playing along like good little soldiers, because that's what they do.
Save it, guys. You've milked that bogus, contrived emotional trauma once too often. If I wanted third-rate, over-the-top acting, well, I know where to find it.