Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The secret is to be shameless

Those of you who still bother to read the blog may wonder, just how do some of these evil geniuses manage to churn out such... impressive work, week after week, especially when so much of their material seems to be based on BS? Dennis provides the secret in this week's column.

Apparently, Dennis' secret is to just not give a crap. Certainly not about trifling things like truth or fairness. Nope, in Dennis-land it's all sensationalism, all the time. He's like if Frankenstein mated with William Randolph Hearst and then went around bragging about his Jew-dentials.

For example, on Dennis' planet, the upcoming midterm elections are not merely elections, they are a referendum on America. Oh yes, he knows that lazy hack media pundits say this about every election since the 1800s, but trust him on this, it's real this time. Showing his great grasp of history and perspective, Dennis provides us this quip:
this off-year election is not simply the most important of my lifetime. It is the most important since the Civil War.
See, now to me this just seems lazy. Dennis throws this random reference out there and then does nothing to explain it. Why not the Revolutionary War? Why not World War II or Vietnam? Was Reagan's election not a referendum? Dennis just wants to poke people for shock value and rehash the old trope that America is super duper divided. Stonewall Dennis rides again!

In the world according to Dennis, if the Democrats win the election, it means the American people want the following:
- A "fundamental transformation"...of America from a liberty-based state of limited government into an equality-based welfare state with an ever-expanding government.
- A change from a country that emphasizes producing wealth to a country that emphasizes redistribution of wealth.
Ah yes, the old theory that anyone who votes for a party supports that party's agenda taken to its most extreme position. By that logic, of course, a vote for the GOP is a vote to deport illegal immigrants back to their home countries in cattle cars and to appoint Sarah Palin the new Secretary of Education.

There's more? Oh goody.
-America will produce increasingly narcissistic citizens.
Here Dennis argues that welfare creates entitlement and narcissism. Never mind that you can be narcissistic without welfare. For instance, thinking that the rest of the world either doesn't matter or should be subservient to America's interests, or thinking that because Christians form a large percentage of the US population that therefore national and civic culture should be tailor-made to their personal beliefs and tastes. I think there's enough narcissism in politics and media to go around, personally.
-America will further reinforce the conviction that minorities are victims – who must be protected from their fellow Americans by the state.
You can keep beating this minority victimization drum if you want to, but no matter how you slice it, having an African-American nominee and President isn't encouraging victimhood, Dennis. Also, I know you really want that silly SIXHIRB acronym of yours to catch on, but I'm really not buying it.
-America will continue to undermine its unique ability to Americanize people of all ethnic, national, racial and religious backgrounds.
News flash, Dennis. Spending lots of time screaming about how people aren't American if they don't have the right papers, don't speak the right language, or pray to the wrong God does not encourage Americanization. It pisses people off and makes them uncomfortable. Slight difference. (Side note: what data are you using to categorize America as "unique" in its assimilation model? Surely there are other countries who have a pretty fluid identity process, too. What about Canada?)
Last and certainly worst (to Dennis),
-America will become increasingly secular.
Oh no, not the S-word! Dennis blames this on Leftism being a :jealous God," and blames the Left for "the Judeo-Christian roots of this country...ceasing to play the indispensable moral role they have played since before 1776." This, of course, is a strawman. Rather than recognize the varied and complex religious thoughts and identities of the Founders, and how these viewpoints informed their shaping of American government and policy when it came to things like civic religion, Dennis rewrites history to turn the generation of Washington into the Pilgrims. There is a difference between having a government and culture which is secular and one which is hostile to religion. One does not necessitate the latter.

Not only is Dennis' scare-mongering about the upcoming Stalinist state dishonest, he's also refusing to own up to his own biases. Instead of talking about how his personal preference is for religiosity over secularism, Dennis appeals to a nostalgic fiction about how the Founding Fathers were all super religious and how religiosity is the default. You see, he's neutral, America is religious. He makes crap up reports, you blindly accept his arguments.

In this version of history, not only are secular folks wrong about how the country and culture should run, they're also falling short of the Founders' noble example and ideal about what America was supposed to be. I guess this is supposed to operate as a kind of national version of Catholic guilty? Anyway, nice try, Dennis. That's certainly annoying, but it's not very convincing.

So after building up all the expectations for what this election means, Dennis finally does a favor and defines at least one of his terms:
And what would constitute a Democratic victory next Tuesday? Anything other than a Republican landslide. 
Hmm, a surprising feint toward even-handedness. Let's wait and watch what Dennis says after the election. Personally, I'm suspicious about what a "landslide" might be interpreted to mean if things wind up not going certain people's way.

No comments: