Robert Nason's Culture Café

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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FrankChurch
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Re: Robert Nason's Culture Café

Postby FrankChurch » Sat Jul 19, 2014 12:48 pm

Nason, you are new here so you may have missed this Ted Talk from James Howard Kunstler, who talks and writes on urban design, the term being new-urbanism:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1ZeXnmDZMQ

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Robert Nason
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Re: Robert Nason's Culture Café

Postby Robert Nason » Sat Jul 19, 2014 4:15 pm

John Podhoretz examines the new meme in recent suphero films:

http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/ ... 86752.html

I particularly liked this passage:

The great villain in these two movies isn’t an evil alien, or a dastardly villain, but “Fear.” You remember Fear. Fear is what leftists began telling us we were being peddled after 9/11 to advance the corporatist neoconservative agenda to take over the world. There was no real Islamist threat, according to this line of argument; it was ginned up to induce Fear. This was and is the favored line of argument on Pacifica Radio’s “Democracy Now!” and of the activist journalist Glenn Greenwald, the front man for Edward Snowden.
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion

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robochrist
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Re: Robert Nason's Culture Café

Postby robochrist » Sat Jul 19, 2014 5:46 pm

There was no real Islamist threat, according to this line of argument


What bullshit! That was no "leftist" argument! Conspiracists ran with it, for sure. But not "lefties", if I'm reading the implication correctly. The issue was how fear was being exploited by the Bush White House to fuel it's deceptive agenda - with rows of phony yellow and orange alerts. Fear is absolutely the big neocon commodity; but no one other than conspiracy freaks (which included lots of Libertarian types) advanced the idea that there was "no Islamist threat"! I still remember when Bill Maher had to herd that group off his show (2007, I think) when they were ranting from the audience about this shit.

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Robert Nason
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Re: Robert Nason's Culture Café

Postby Robert Nason » Sat Jul 19, 2014 6:14 pm

I vividly remember reading and hearing leading lefties (and conspiracy freaks -- the two often overlap) stoutly declaring that there was "no real Islamic threat" -- indeed, we should fear "the real terrorist," the United States, instead. Edward Said, Michael Moore, Gore Vidal, Norman Mailer, Noam Chomsky, Susan Sontag, Howard Zinn, Kathy Pollitt, Joan Didion, Naomi Wolf, nearly the entire staff of The Nation magazine, not to mention French intellectuals like Jean Baudrillard & Co. I read them all. I was there. You can't bullshit me on this one.
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion

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robochrist
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Re: Robert Nason's Culture Café

Postby robochrist » Sun Jul 20, 2014 10:16 am

Oh, there are definitely SOME. I remember one lefty radio host taking me off guard by his own insistence about it. It was stupid. Ed Schultz tore into him and dismantled the fantasy brick-by-brick. But that contingent is VERY small! What YOU'RE trying to do is make a closer association between conspiracy nuts and lefties. Bill Maher, likewise, has dispensed with the fantasy for many years. And, of course, scientists like Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye decried it many times.

Robert, whatever world or reality you live in, you are known to frame arguments through the worst case of bullshit tunnel vision I've ever seen. You cherry pick then take that handful and apply it to the norm. No: Conspiracy freaks do not "overlap" with the left as much as you've convinced yourself in your vacuum-sealed bubble. In fact, in my experience, it's right-wingers who think the government set it up. Libertarian types to be specific. I could confidently content that the majority of 9/11 conspiracy buffs, known as "Truthers", are predominanty Libertarian.

Are you certain, first of all, that you quoted the people you listed IN CONTEXT? Although, no question, there IS an Islamist threat, the U.S. effectively produced that threat over a course of decades through blowback. Policies in the Middle East, puppet governments like the Shaw, and, of course, the CIA training Bin Laden throughout the 1980s as it did with Hussein and Panama's Noriega. The United States has a history of creating a toxic seedbed of discontent. Are you sure none of the people you listed weren't trying to make this point? Lots of lefties DO; MOST, actually.

Secondly, I didn't hear or read such comments from the people you listed. But it doesn't matter, because MOST so-called lefties never bought into the sentiment. That is, in terms of the attack being staged. I KNOW - because I speak to many all the time! And I listen to many.

If I get some time, I'll do a search on those you listed to find out what they had in mind. If I read Gore Vidal asserted the idea in the context you portray, it wouldn't exactly shock me in is case. He went over the line on a few issues several times. Although, he also laid down magnificent tracts on many other issues, too.

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Re: Robert Nason's Culture Café

Postby Moderator » Sun Jul 20, 2014 10:53 am

Conspiracy theorists aren't solely on the left, Robert. As Rob noted, there is considerable paranoia and conspiracy-mongering on the far right at well. ("They're coming for your guns"; "they're trampling on your right to free speech"; "Obama wasn't born in the US";"they're defrauding elections so we need to show papers when we go to vote" -- these are all easily disproven conspiracies about the Left by far right Libertarians and, in fact, public media.)

Aliens? Yes, that one is largely on the Left. America as terrorists? Yep, look up "Frank Church" for examples.

The rest...not so much.
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

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Lori Koonce
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Re: Robert Nason's Culture Café

Postby Lori Koonce » Sun Jul 20, 2014 11:21 am

Robert

A question for you How would you classify a guy who lives by the idea that both compassion and toughness can and must reside within the same person? What about one who is willing to pay very high taxes if you can prove to him how it will benefit himself and his family. I haven't got a clue what you consider him, but I do know he considers himself a very red republican. I just call him dad and leave it at that.

IMO, Left, Right and Center are just easy ways to put those we disagree with in boxes. Once we do that the responsibility to try and understand another POV is greatly diminished if not removed entirely. It is a shame. That so many of us are willing to loose out on chances to learn.

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Chuck Messer
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Re: Robert Nason's Culture Café

Postby Chuck Messer » Sun Jul 20, 2014 11:28 am

I'm reminded of the idea that rather than being linear, politics is circular. I don't recall who came up with the idea, but it was brought up by one of my high school history teachers. The idea is that as people become more extreme, they start out diametrically opposed, but as they become more radicalized, they come closer together until they sound so much alike they're hard to tell apart. 9/11 Truthers are an excellent example. As Rob pointed out, there are a number of libertarians that espouse that paranoid delusion, but there are a number of Truthers on the left as well. They also seem to share a simmering anti-Semitism that makes Truthism particularly odious. (Jewish bankers, Zionist plotters, etc.)

Chuck
Some people are wedded to their ideology the way nuns are wed to God.

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robochrist
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Re: Robert Nason's Culture Café

Postby robochrist » Sun Jul 20, 2014 11:38 am

Chuck -

"The Circle": for me, a great paradigm, a marvel of irony, is observing opposite extremes of Communism and Pure Capitalism. What happens? Both end up consolidating wealth and power in the hands of a few, to the detriment of the many. Extremism in any form is always a tapered philosophy; perception of the universe through a needlepoint.

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robochrist
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Re: Robert Nason's Culture Café

Postby robochrist » Sun Jul 20, 2014 12:09 pm

Here you go: an outspoken "lefty" versus 9/11 conspiracy freaks known as "Truthers", from 2007!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVV9ZByg2M8

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FrankChurch
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Re: Robert Nason's Culture Café

Postby FrankChurch » Sun Jul 20, 2014 1:16 pm

Nason needs to read the book on right wing populism by Chip Berlet, one of those experts I like. He shows the history of severe racism shown by right wing groups over the years. Anti-Chinese policy, anti-Italian, anti-Irish, anti--Jewish! Now you have the issues with Hispanics where right wingers are saying the wetbacks are bringing in diseases and crime and evil, you know, like, those doe-eyed kids just ooze evil.

---------

Barber, that was a low blow, I think American officials export global terror, not America as an idea. America I am fine with. Dissidents always go after the power elites first.

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FrankChurch
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Re: Robert Nason's Culture Café

Postby FrankChurch » Sun Jul 20, 2014 1:17 pm

The leading truther is Alex Jones and he is right wing.

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FrankChurch
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Re: Robert Nason's Culture Café

Postby FrankChurch » Sun Jul 20, 2014 1:46 pm

This is about as great as it gets. Kinky and divine:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... A09566.jpg

I don't get what you have to have inside to paint like this. God maybe.

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AndrewR
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Re: Robert Nason's Culture Café

Postby AndrewR » Sun Jul 20, 2014 2:14 pm

Conspiracy nuttery is not limited to the left. As a matter of fact some of the nuttiest stuff comes from the right (I include libertarians with the the right).

http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main ... liefs.html

The .pdf with their breakdowns is pretty enlightening.

Steve; UFO crazies abound on both sides of the aisle.
Andrew Rogers

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Mark Tiedemann
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Re: Robert Nason's Culture Café

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Sun Jul 20, 2014 3:05 pm

FrankChurch wrote:I wanted to ask our Mark how many rejection slips he got for his first work?


I have no idea. I'd have to unearth the files from the rafters of the garage, but suffice to say that the cliche "I could wallpaper my house with rejection slips" is not a cliche.


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