Thursday, January 26, 2006

IN THE TIME OF CHIMPANZEES, I WAS A MONKEY

Who knew there was a person out there who could say the things I thought and felt but couldn't articulate? Not me, of course. I'm a singular person, unique in every way. My personal history - the strange dramas and failed chances that have comprised my life thus far - combined with my inherent melancholy, intense morality, and infectious mirth, mixed together with a stunning physical prowess, and topped off with a dash of mania and a splash of depression, is mine and mine alone. The tint through which I view the world lies somewhere between rose-colored and outright dismal, and if I didn't wallow so often in my own miserable middle-class disaffection, I'd try to articulate what and how I felt about things better than I do. But I don't, so suck on a grape.

Is that even an expression?

Anyway, I recently discovered this guy Joe Bageant, who on the surface seems like just another internet personality with white-hot blood and a million excuses to rant. But the guy is a good read and has some prescient insights. More than a few of his essays are great, and as I read through a number of them today, I found that this one left me a bit speechless. In fact, there were a few times he so squarely hit the nail on the head I almost shouted at the screen. And though his ideas may not be profound or revolutionary, they are varied enough and expressed confidently enough to be truly impressive. From this jumping off point:

Allow me to get down to the nub of this and say what urban liberals cannot allow themselves to say out loud: "Christian majority or not, the readers of such apocalyptic books as the Left Behind series are some pretty damned dumb motherfuckers caught up in their own black, vindictive fantasy." There. I said it for you. Let us proceed.

He then plods along to state that Forty years later Merton is still right. Like most American liberals, not to mention all of Europe and the rest of the world, I learned through education to write the U.S. born-again literature off as kitsch religion, merely bad theology in an unholy marriage to bad writing. Another product of the American Jesus industry.

And then eventually winds his way to Essentially it comes down to the fact that a very large portion of Americans are crazier than shithouse rats and are being led by a gang of pathological misfits, most of whom are preachers and politicians. We are not talking about simple religious faith here. There is a world of difference between having religious faith and being a born-again zealot who believes in his heart that he is thumping Darwinian demons out of classrooms and that Ted Kennedy is the anti-Christ. Trading down to the Democratic party of the pussies really will not save us. It will just buy a little time. But we have whipped the hell out of this dead horse before, haven’t we? Forgive me.

Well, whatever. Read it yourself.

Here is another of his essays that I found particularly intriguing in a "I've felt that but never really thought that" sort of way: Revenge of the Mutt People.

Ok, I was going to write more but why? Just read the articles and tell me why he's a douchebag. That's what the internet's for, right?

3 comments:

Trevor Jackson said...

"We are talking about a group of Americans 20% of whose children graduate from high school identifying H2O as a cable channel."

Word. That guy's no douchebag.

Didn't we get into a thing a while back here about how one of Christianity's big selling points is getting the eventual chance to watch your enemies tortured? Bring 'em on, right?

Mathis said...

What I love about the guy is that he's so critical of these idiots but at the same time so indignantly angered at the fact that they have been ignored and disregarded by most middle-class liberals. He wants more from them, and expects more, and that's what angers him. A far cry from most social pundits, or whatever it is you're supposed to call people on the internet shouting from six-inch soapboxes.

Trevor Jackson said...

Yeah, by the time I got to the end, I was ready to start packing my bags. What he doesn't say is that the Christian insanity about this stuff is on a scale and not so black or white as he makes it out to be.

Plus, Americans for all their fundamentalism, are also very selfish and lazy. If liberals can appeal to that instead of their faith, they may effect a decent flanking move on the right's appeal to Left Behind-inspired urges.