flewellyn: (Default)
You folks ever heard that song "The Christmas Shoes"? Contemporary Christian light rock song from 2000, by some group called "NewSong", that I only know about from an episode of the Nostalgia Chick. And while I like the Nostalgia Chick, I almost think I was happier not knowing about this song.

In case you haven't heard this song, or heard of it... It's an "inspirational" contemporary Christian song about a man who is doing his Christmas shopping, not feeling the spirit of the season, when he spies a little boy ahead of him in line, trying to buy some pretty women's shoes. The boy doesn't have quite enough, and he starts crying and says he wants to buy the shoes for his dying mother, so she can feel pretty before she dies. And the singer buys the shoes for the boy, who then runs home, while the guy sings that "God must have sent that little boy to remind me what Christmas is all about."

Sounds like regular Christmasy glurge, but if you look deeper, you get into some really dark and awful ideas. Truth be told, I have nothing but contemptuous rage for the sort of theology that this song espouses. Without the last bit, it'd just be a bit of "I did what I could to help someone in pain, and it reminded me that I was losing sight of the true meaning blah blah blah," and that'd be fine. Saccharine, but fine.

But the last verse is where I go from "oh, come on already" to "GRAAAAAAH RAGEFLIP A TABLE!" Seriously, what it's saying is, "God sent this little boy with his horrible, traumatic parental death and his sad, pathetic attempt at a materialistic token of affection, to remind ME, yes, ME, what Christmas is all about. God put suffering in this child's life to teach ME a lesson!"

Seriously, dude thinks that God, the purported CREATOR of the FUCKING UNIVERSE, who apparently is all good and all loving and all knowing, chose to deliberately send horror into the life of this innocent child just so he, the beardy guy warbling this song, could learn a valuable lesson?! Never mind that any god which did so would be an EVIL god, unworthy of human worship, but who the FUCK are you, Mr NewSong Lead Singer Guy? What about YOU warrants the personal attention of the Creator of All Things, especially to teach you the sort of lesson you could get off any Hallmark card, and ESPECIALLY especially when the means of teaching you is killing an innocent woman, leaving this boy without his mother?!


*ahem* So, yeah. Doesn't please me very much.

Nostalgia Chick's review is funny, though:

flewellyn: (Default)
I was just called a communist by a priest, because I insisted that rich people should pay their fair share of taxes to support the system that enabled them to become rich, and to help support those less fortunate than they.

Apparently it's now Church doctrine that it's great to help the poor, but bad to question the system which causes people to be poor in the first place.

Woulda been news to Jesus, I imagine...
flewellyn: (Default)
This isn't going to be a coherent essay, just a collection of thoughts without much order. Just FYI.

My first thought when I heard of the shooting was, "Great, I bet it's a teabagger, or a sympathizer." Of course, many people would say that was jumping to conclusions, and perhaps prejudicial. To which I would reply, "Have you not been paying attention?"

Based on his YouTube videos, Jared Loughner seems to have some aspects of his thinking that resemble paranoid schizophrenia. The problem with that being the answer people latch onto is that, most of the time, schizophrenics are not dangerous. Very few of them commit violence against others. They're far more likely to be victims than perpetrators. Also, schizophrenia alone does not explain why Loughner chose to attack a politician.

The right-wing media machine has a lot to answer for. They've been using outright eliminationist rhetoric for years, and the last two has seen it ramped up to frenzied heights. I am neither the first nor the most articulate to point this out, but when political and media leaders, people looked up to by a large chunk of the population, begin spouting violent and eliminationist talk, it has a disinhibiting effect on those people in society who are carrying resentments and grudges against those they deem inferior.

If leaders are saying "these others you dislike are scum, and vermin, and traitors, and should die", then some of those followers will take them up on the challenge.

Responsible leaders should know better than to try and unleash such forces; a violent political faction is hard to control once created, and can turn on its leaders. Our current crop of "Tea Party" reactionaries is anything but responsible, however, as they have done nothing but try to scrub the evidence of their culpability, deny and disclaim that there's a problem, and then in the same breath accuse "the Left" of being "just as bad". Usually, they cite as examples some random comments or posts on blogs by people nobody has ever heard of, or groups like the Weather Underground who have not been active for over 40 years and never actually killed anyone other than their own members accidentally, or isolated incidents that were immediately condemned by mainstream leaders (like the hanging of Palin in effigy, which got roundly denounced by Democratic leaders in California).

Michelle Malkin has gone so far as to list boycotts, peaceful protests, and angry letters to the editor as examples of "leftist hate speech". For some reason, I'm reminded of those MRAs who complain that a woman refusing to have sex with them is the same as them beating her up. Can't imagine why.

At any rate, what we have here is an incipient movement towards genuine fascism in this country, and so far no concerted effort by our government to stop it. I have little faith in Obama trying to crack down on violent right-wing groups, as Clinton did, because apparently Obama is too committed to being bipartisan to recognize a genuine threat to public order. Well, maybe. He might surprise me.
flewellyn: (Default)
So, this election's been a mixed bag, but there have been some serious setbacks for progressives, and for the Democratic Party (which I note, right here, are not synonymous). The Democrats held on to many seats, but lost some others that seemed like easy victories. In particular, I'm thinking of longtime Democratic representative Earl Pomeroy, of North Dakota, who has done a great deal of good for the state, losing to a slimy, bullying, lying, dishonorable scumbag named Berg. And, in Kentucky, Rand Paul, libertarian asshat and employer of the head-stomping asshat Tim Profitt, beat Conway in what should have been a slam dunk for the Democrats.

The Democratic Party and the media are no doubt gearing up to assign blame already. The media, predictably, will say that this means America is a conservative nation and blah blah blah, more bullshit that they spout. Well, that'll be a mixed bag, because some (MSNBC and CNN) will try to analyze, while FOX will merely propagandize. The problem is, MSNBC and CNN will promptly pick up FOX's propaganda, being lazy. In the media, at least, Yeats remains right: the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.

But the media may say whatever. The real issue I have, and am going to have, is with what the Democratic leadership will say. I know what they will say, because they always do. They will blame their base for not supporting them, castigate progressives for being "purists" and not getting out the vote enough. They will do anything but look at themselves.

This election is YOUR problem, DNC. And it's yours too, President Obama. The problem, as always, is that the Democratic Party does not understand why the Republicans are successful when their party platform is antithetical to the best interests of the general public. The GOP, whatever its faults (and boy, are there lots!), understands rule number one of any party strategy: whatever happens, keep the base happy.

As it happens, the GOP's base is composed of two groups: the plutocrats that fund them, and the reactionary fundamentalists that comprise their electorate. The GOP knows better than to publically stray from the line these two groups want them to follow, although there's plenty of indication that they mostly see the fundies as "useful idiots". Still, they make sure to throw plenty of bones to the fundies, and never publically disagree with them, much less berate them for lack of support. Republicans know that if they want to win, they must must MUST keep the base happy.

Democrats, it seems, don't understand this. The problem seems to be that the Dems believe elections are about finding "swing voters", those mythical undecided people who don't seem to favor one party or one political position over another, but are supposedly crucial to victory. One of the key traits of a "swing voter" is that this person may favor some progressive, liberal positions, but also favor conservative ideas as well.

So, what do the Democratic leadership do, in election after election? Take the party base, which is solidly progressive, for granted, and "tack right" to chase after the swing voters. Where they do this, it consistently fails, for two reasons.

First of all, I have yet to see solid evidence that "swing voters" actually exist. Of course there are people who are liberal on some issues and conservative on others; hell, I'm one of them (although the vast majority of things find me soldily in the "very liberal/progressive" camp). But, people who are genuinely undecided? Come now. In today's polarized electorate, anyone who is undecided is either uninformed, or else not paying attention. Either way, they're not going to vote at all.

Second problem, though, is the big one: the Democrats keep abandoning the base! More than that, they actually harangue the progressive base for not supporting them, even when they try to "govern from the center" and betray the progressives on election promises.

Frankly, sometimes the relationship between the DNC and progressive voter reminds me of an abusive marriage: the party keeps throwing the base under the bus, and then saying "Where you gonna go? You ain't got nobody but me!" Perhaps this needs to change.


flewellyn: (Default)

July 2014

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