I will forget about all the typical bullshit evacuated from the mouths of politicians. All the bullshit, that is, except for that which is absolutely 100% demonstrable. I appreciate measurement. Apparently, Paul Ryan claimed to have run a sub-three hour marathon. I am a bit of a runner myself. I have run distance events. When I finished my first half marathon, I distinctly remember the one hour and forty two minutes. I’m not sure about the seconds, but that is not so important. The fact is that I can never ever drop a half hour off of that time. The time I pulled was pretty good for a first time long distance runner in his late 30s. But a half hour less than that would be a great time for a first time runner in his late 30s.
When I ran a marathon, I recall knowing not only my final time, but intermediate times. You see, my fastest ever 5k (at the time) was the first 5k of my first marathon. That was a bad sign. My fastest 10k to date was the first 10k of the same race. Before the halfway point, I knew I was in trouble. I hit the halfway point at appreciably slower than my worst half marathon. By the time I finished, I had taken a humiliating time of nearly four hours and ten minutes. Granted, the Bataan Memorial Death March is a notoriously difficult run, especially for a first timer like I was. Nevertheless, half a decade later I still look forward to the day I can do a more standard marathon in a more respectable time.
But I’ll be damned if I will falsely claim to have beaten my well-earned four hours and change. I earned it, by various gods, and I will claim it to my dying day. Only a spectacular asshole with a deep and unsettling degree of assholery would ever exaggerate a run time by more than a couple of minutes (for true long distances) or seconds for more moderate distances. God damn it, that guy is creepy. Even more than born-with-a-silver-stick-up-his-ass Willard.
I watched the Clint Eastwood speech in its entirety. It was bad. But I don’t think it was as bad as most people seem to be spouting about. That is to say, while it was very bad from a technical standpoint, from the view of the intended audience it worked well enough. Some of the less delusional members of the crowd probably noticed that Eastwood came off as a doddering curmudgeon with little understanding of the state of the economy and the state of politics. But most attendees, like Bush Jr. with his “filters,” are averse to finding out any more than Fox News and Rush Limbaugh (or handlers) are willing to tell them. They simply do not know enough to even know they don’t know. I think the single prop prop-comedy bit will work well on low information geriatric voters and those with a knee-jerk hatred of “ethnics.” Unfortunately for Willard, he already had a solid lock on that crowd. They are his base.
As a member of the reigning majority in the reigning minority of the voting population in the U.S. (Mexicans outnumber other hispanics, and hispanics have recently topped blacks as the largest minority), I feel compelled to make some admissions. First, hispanics in general and Mexicans in particular are racist jerks. I wish that it were not true (and many people would like to believe that only a dominant group can be racist), but it is. And to those outside the loose confederation of nationalities called hispanic, many might be confused as to how racist (nationality-ist?) seemingly indistinguishable people can be. But the fact is that there is some animosity between Mexico and the countries of Central America. And most of that group combine in their disregard for the Spanish speaking countries of the Caribbean, with Puerto Rico being of particular disregard. One thing they all can agree on, however, is that Cubans suck.
Aside: Seeking the hispanic vote by courting people like Marco Rubio indicates a comical misunderstanding of the dynamic of that portion of the populace.
…but I digress…
We also understand that, to many whites of a certain bent, we are all identical. So we tend to take offense at overt racism such as the following. This is the reception incurred by Ms. Zoraida Fonalledas of Puerto Rico, on being called to the lectern:
I think that says everything that needs to be said about what the proponents of the White Protestant Christian Male Plutocracy think of us members of lesser races, possessors of unfortunate double X chromosomes, and believers (or nonbelievers) in lesser gods than Pasty White Northern European Jesus.
I’ve sugarcoated it for years, but I think I’m done. If you are not doing some sort of outdoor physical labor, or are not traveling to or from such work (and I will grant that it is much better than most of its competitors for those purposes), then the reason you wear a cowboy hat is because you feel that “niggers, wetbacks, and Jews needs to know their place.” and also that bitch best get back in the kitchen if’n she knows what’s good for her.
Now the important thing is that the Post-Apocalyptic Dystopia (hereafter referred to as a PAD) is simply not plausible. If you notice in silly PAD movies and such, a pattern emerges: a society is segregated into have and have-nots, usually by some extreme version of the gated community. Where such stories fail is that that does not happen.
If you want to see an extreme gated community, where should you look? Kabul and Baghdad come to mind… Now what can we say about these places? Do they have a ruling elite? Yes. Is it in effective control of the country? No.
The model used by the PAD genre is extant, but the walls mean something very different from the movie portrayal. These walls are not merely where shit-your-pants-at-the-sight-of-dark-skin rich assholes go to prevent contact with the poor, minorities, and other undesirables (as is the case in American cities). Rather, they are out of real and justified fear. The inmates of these gated communities are in no way in control of whatever nation-state they claim to run. The best they can do is bribe the warlords who actually rule those districts for passage, protection, and an unstable peace.
An enormous underclass, especially one that suffers from real want, portends collapse of whatever terrible (that’s genuinely universal) government pretends to the throne. Even if the new government will be dramatically worse (see Russian Revolution, Chinese Revolution) that the current one, the desire to simply do something in dire circumstances is best channeled in destruction. That destruction is leveled at whomever might appear to be the beneficiary of evil policies.
Having a child of a certain age, I was forced to watch The Hunger Games. I was prepared to hate it, but didn’t.
The post-apocalyptic dystopia has had a long history. Narrowing it to the “filthy peasants are forced to provide victims (voluntary or otherwise) for the sporting amusement of the patrician class,” the genre is still quite broad. First to mind (for me, in any case) comes the story of Minos of Crete demanding sacrificial victims for the monstrous denizen of the Labyrinth. This story has been told and retold over and over, with recent incarnations including well known and not-so-well-known novels from Stephen King (written as Richard Bachman): The Running Man, The Long Walk. From a psychological perspective, it is a satisfying story of and authoritarian government literally making a show of subjugating the masses.
People can be evil, and oppression occurs, yet this is never done. Why not? Certainly objective oppression is within the power of the ruler or ruling party with absolute power. Well, there are a couple of reasons. First, the cartoonish overt evil of such a scheme makes it not simply hard to swallow, but rather impossible. People will quietly accept or even actively participate in wholesale murder and destruction. Humiliation is another thing. When an activity can objectively be called evil and is done with humiliation as a principal aim, the overwhelming majority of the population will be antipathetic to the government. That is the second most important ingredient of a overthrow, after only hunger. Secondly, the viability of such regimes must be so short that no examples even exist, despite the existence of a number of truly despotic and murderous governments. Third, well, two is plenty.
I just hate this theme. It makes me want to oppress rubes.